Family spins to the park, weekend rides on quiet lanes, going for that takeaway coffee on your way to work or during your lunch break - we've seen it all. It has just been fantastic to see so many people out enjoying time on their bikes recently.
But with more cyclists out and about, many of them getting back on the bike after a while - our customers have told us (particularly in our new #SeeSenseReport campaign) and also from what we've experienced ourselves, the bitter attitudes of drivers (some, not all) towards cyclists has been totally unfairly on the rise.
So while we might be preaching to the converted here, we actually thought it was important and timely to share this at the moment. And let's be honest, we have all more than likely had that heated conversation with a non-cyclist friend. Here are the top 10 things we wished all car drivers knew (and that we wished we still didn't have to explain)...
We wanted this to be our first point - it's really not an 'us and them' situation. Most cyclists drive a car too. Just because they love cycling, doesn't make them 'anti-car'.
Breaking the 'road tax' and insurance myths - roads are paid for out of general tax, so any cyclist who pays tax pays for the roads. Most enthusiast cyclists will also be covered with cycle liability insurance too which covers themselves and their bikes.
As journalist Carlton Reid said in The Guardian "Many motorists assume that roads were built for them. In fact, cars are the johnny-come-latelies of highways."
We are all users of the road, please let's just share the space respectfully.
While we would love for there to be more cycle-friendly infrastructure in place on our roads (believe us, we really do) - there are actually a number of reasons why cyclists aren't always using the bike lane. A lot of cycle lanes are not fit for purpose, they might have broken glass in them or have an obstruction (often a parked car) in the way. Also, if you're going faster than 18mph you shouldn't be using a cycle path (Source: DFT).
How many times have you seen a driver using their phone while driving? Cyclists actually break fewer road rules than drivers (Source: Forbes). So it's unfair to say that 'cyclists just run red lights'.
Here at See.Sense, we are all about helping ourselves be seen, even in daylight hours. But, it's not actually a legal requirement like lights are (Source: Cyclelaw). And it certainly doesn't give you an excuse to shout abuse at anyone for it.
If you think about it, it's faster to overtake a group of cyclists who are riding two abreast, rather than a long string of cyclists (in normal circumstances). It's actually perfectly legal for cyclists to ride two abreast. This handy video helps explains the dos and don'ts for riding two abreast:
And super dangerous. More and more police forces are now prosecuting drivers who do not allow cyclists 1.5 metres of space when passing (varies by location) which is good to see. But from our #SeeSenseReport, close passes are still one of the most highly reported experiences from our customers - and an end needs to be put to them. So if you are reading this, please do give cyclists plenty of space.
You aren't sitting in traffic - you are the traffic. Cycle lanes don’t cause traffic jams: they’re part of the solution (Guardian). It makes sense if you think about it.
In his latest announcement, the Transport Secretary said "there’s been a 70% rise in the number of people on bikes whether it's for exercise, or necessary journeys, such as stocking up on food." Motor vehicle usage has halved and remains around the 50% level with public transport usage around 10% of pre-lockdown levels. Cycling is growing, and it's here to stay.
Cyclists are people, not just something on a bike that you need to rush to get past.
Cyclists, those non-polluting, lycra-clad (or normal clothed) pedallers really do provoke a level of anger like no other group to drivers. As a team of passionate cyclists (along with our thousands of customers) - we feel it is time to ask why? And share these 10 reasons that drivers (and everyone else) need to know - now more than ever with the cycling boom.
We hope this article isn't too negative or disheartening, we can't believe that some of the points still need to be explained, but here we are. So if there is someone you know who you think might need to see this, share it with them. And if anyone you know has recently taken up cycling, why not help them out and encourage them to keep going!